The other day I was talking to someone about coffee cake – and my daughter asked me, “What makes a cake, a coffee cake?” I thought about it for a minute, and decided it was all about the crumb topping. Cakes that have a crumb topping are often called coffee cake – and for some reason that gives you permission to eat it in the morning with a cup of coffee. I guess the crumb topping is usually in place of a sweet creamy frosting, but I have to say, a lot of coffee cakes have a nice sweet glaze on top that to me is even better than frosting. I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I love coconut, so I had to give it a try. With my newly formed definition of coffee cake, this definitely fits the bill. This moist cake was absolutely delicious – the coconut flavor paired perfectly with the chocolate chunks – and I have to say that the glaze was so good, I was licking the bowl after I finished drizzling it over the cake. The only change I made to the recipe was to use unsweetened coconut on top as well as in the batter – sweetened coconut can sometimes be too much, and there was plenty of sweetness with the chocolate and glaze.
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated orange peel
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate bars (do not exceed 61% cacao), broken into 1/2-inch irregular pieces, divided
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons (or more) canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; dust pan with flour, shaking out excess. Sift 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, and sea salt into medium bowl. Stir in unsweetened shredded coconut and set aside. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and orange peel in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with coconut milk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Fold in half of bittersweet chocolate pieces. Spread batter evenly in prepared cake pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate pieces over batter, then sprinkle with sweetened flaked coconut.
Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, tenting with sheet of foil if coconut atop cake is browning too quickly, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer cake to rack and cool in pan 45 minutes.
Whisk powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk, and vanilla in small bowl to blend well, adding more coconut milk by 1/2 teaspoonfuls until mixture is thin enough to drizzle over cake.
Carefully run small knife around sides of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto platter, then carefully invert again onto another platter, coconut side up. Using small spoon, drizzle powdered sugar mixture decoratively over cake. Cool cake completely on platter. DO AHEAD Cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover cake and let stand at room temperature.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here: Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut Drizzle